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Hanson in Australia & New Zealand

I was born to DO. I was born to GO. I was born to BE.
That is the chorus of Hanson’s newest single, “I Was Born”.  I had already decided before I knew the lyrics to the song that I was going to try to go to Australia on Hanson’s next tour to see them play.  When I heard the song it all seemed a bit serendipitous.

For months I planned – I may have actually bought tickets to all the concerts before I even had approval from work to take the time off. (Spoiler – I did) I booked flights, I researched things that I wanted to do while I was there and narrowed it down to 3 “must do” activities – Sydney Opera House, hold a koala and see Hobbiton.  Combine I Was Born with The Hobbit – and I was born to be going on an adventure!

Little did I know just how much of an adventure it would end up being. Immediately upon checking in at the airport I was told that my flight was delayed and there was no other flights that could get me to Dallas any sooner. Instead of an hour layover I was down to 30 minutes and while I might make the flight – my bags most likely wouldn’t. I grabbed some winter clothes out of my luggage, threw it in my carry on and hoped for the best.

The best turned out to be my flight to Dallas ending up so delayed I wouldn’t make it until an hour after my flight to Sydney took off and I’d be in Dallas for the night, off to Los Angeles the next day (worried I’d end up in LA with only winter clothes!) and then straight from LA to Melbourne that night, losing a day of sightseeing in Melbourne. (I am so, so glad I planned in that extra day so I only missed sight seeing and didn’t miss any of my must dos or any Hanson shows!)

Before I had left my coworkers were teasing me for never having had an “In N Out” burger and said I needed to hit up a Hanson show in California next. Well, there wasn’t a Hanson show but I made sure to leave LAX and head to a super packed In N Out just up the street from the airport. It was worth the effort.  I wish I could have hung out in LA a bit more, but my “Premium Economy” ticket was downgraded to regular old “Economy” when I missed my flight so I had to head back to the airport to get that straightened out. (I never did.)

By the time the flight from LA took off I felt like it was 1am so I slept the majority of the flight and I also fell asleep during every movie I tried to watch – Beauty and the Beast, Fantastic Beasts and Trolls. The only thing I managed to stay awake to watch was Netflix’s The Ranch.  Landed in Melbourne at 7am and hit the ground running.  That evening I thought that I might fall asleep for the first time during a Hanson concert, but I pushed through.  After that I adjusted pretty well to the time change despite everyone asking if I was feeling alright and wondering about any jet lag.

Everyone I met that didn’t already know me or wasn’t a Hanson fan thought I was nuts when my friends would say, “And this is Katie. She is from the States! She came here to see Hanson!”   Most were wondering if Hanson never played shows in the states and then my friends would say “Oh we were just there in May to see them!” Wait but… if you’re from the States and they play the States… why are you in Australia?  Um, why not?  It was somewhere I’ve always wanted to go and it was a good excuse to go AND see my favorite band… And KOALAS!

Day 2 added to the adventure when I slipped in the shower, punched a potted plant on the way down and it smashed and sliced open 4 of my fingers.  We got me all bandaged up and then I ended up covered in super glue which led to the joke of the trip that they broke me and then tried to glue me back together again.  Slowly each finger healed and by the time I got to New Zealand I was in pretty good shape, although one finger is still sore even now.

After Melbourne we were off to Canberra and then to Sydney.  Since we had seats for the show we headed to cross off the first item on my must-do list which was to see the Sydney Opera House. We opted to not take any tours since they didn’t seem really handicapped friendly and we had already missed the tour that removed all the stairs from it.  So while we couldn’t actually go inside it was cool to walk around and see the bridge and the docked cruise ships.

After 2 nights in Sydney and a Members Only Event where we got to meet the guys and get tourist suggestions from Zac (Only 1 of which we did – since it was already on my list) we were off to Queensland via a flight from Sydney.  You don’t need to show your ID or ticket to get through security and I was thoroughly confused the whole time we were at the airport since it was so, so different from in the US!

Since we had another seated show in the Gold Coast we headed up to the Australia Zoo before hand so that we could cuddle a koala! We also fed kangaroos and saw some dingos. And to add to the adventure, the koala, named ‘Tato, pooped on me.  We also saw a baby koala that we probably otherwise wouldn’t have noticed thanks to some kids screaming “THERE’S A BABY KOALA!” when we were watching them sleep in their trees!

Gold Coast and Brisbane is when the tour started catching up to us, and my friend Nat ended up so sick she couldn’t even go to the Brisbane show. 🙁 I was hoping that whatever it was would hold off for a few more days so I could finish off my trip and then get sick when I got home (be careful what you wish for)

At the airport on the way to New Zealand I saw Hanson at baggage check and said hello – Taylor commented that I was going on quite an adventure – and he didn’t even know the half of it! Turns out, Hanson was on my flight to New Zealand.  They went straight to do press upon landing and I went straight to take a nap.  The 2 hour time difference from Australia to NZ is when things really started going downhill for me.

It turned out that with the addition of 2 members only events for this tour, my Hanson show count was going to hit #150 with the Auckland show.  Everything just kind of worked out perfectly that way (and MMMBop the first night in Melbourne ended up being my 100th time hearing it live)  Since they had a members only event before the show I was able to tell them I’d be hitting #150 which ended up with my getting a shout out before Penny and Me and Taylor calling me one of their most devout and dedicated fans. What!?

The grand finale of my trip was waking up at 5:30AM to take a tour of Hobbiton through Bush and Beach, who picked me up right at the hotel and took me to Hobbiton for a private tour. This company is amazing and we only had *5* people in our tour group as opposed to the other tours that were like 40!  This led to our amazing guide, Sonny, personally chatting with us all and taking basically as many photos as we would like at each of the various stops along the tour.  The tour was a bit difficult for me in places due to steps, but Sonny helped me out and we made it through with no injuries to report.

I arrived back home only to head to the doctors and find out that I had bronchitis and be put on antibiotics. For the next week or so no matter what time I went to bed, I woke up at 5am but I have since seemed to switch back to the correct time zone. Phew!

I know most people think I am crazy for going to see Hanson so many times and just don’t get it. And that’s ok. I can’t really explain why I do it other than it just makes me happy and I have made so many friends because of this band (world wide!) that even though I flew to the other side of the planet alone – I was never really alone.  That is my happy place and when those opening chords of the opening song start – I know that I am Already Home.  I can’t wait to do it all over again for 6 shows in the fall when their tour finally kicks off in the States.

 

 

 

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Throwback Thursday: Hanson Members Only Event 10/18/09

Headliner: Hanson
Opener(s): NA
Venue: Manchester Inn
Cost: $0

Setlist:

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Throwback Thursday: Hanson 10/16/09

Headliner: Hanson
Opener(s): Steel Train, Hello Goodbye
Venue: Northern Lights
Cost: $34.70

Setlist:

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The Hop Jam 2017

Sunday after Hanson Day Weekend was over, it was time for the Hop Jam.  Once again I volunteered this year, so as far as the music portion went, I only saw a few performances. I was sure to sneak away from Castro’s set and watched it from the “VIP Box” that was my hotel room.  I ended up back at the hotel in time to hear KONGOS “Come With Me Now” and then of course, stopped all volunteering duties in order to see Hanson get inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame and see their performance.  Afterwards we picked up our volunteer shifts once again, doing all sorts of “fun” things to make sure that the street would be back to normal and no one would ever know such a huge festival had just went down.

The Hop Jam marked my 99th time hearing MMMBop live (which is pretty cool because #100 will be in Australia and that’s obviously why I had to go on such a big trip) and my 250th unique song heard live was their new single,  “I Was Born”.  It was also my 141st Hanson show meaning that I will most likely be hitting 150 in Australia / New Zealand. (Looking to be New Zealand based on the Members Only Events that were recently announced)

Here are a few highlights from the show:

Hanson getting inducted

Taylor starting Fired Up in the crowd

 

For most of the day I was at the entrance gate, watching people get pissed off because they couldn’t bring in outside food or drink (and one particularly happy guy dumped his water bottle at my feet because he was told to dump it. Thanks dude!) and handing out maps of the festival grounds and answering questions about where to get tickets scanned and all that good stuff.  I handed a map to someone and he commented about how he hoped now he wouldn’t get lost, I told him “Good luck!” and the security guy asked me what I said so I was like “…good luck?” and he goes “Oh. I thought you said ‘Get fucked'”  I mean… I’m not sure that is the language that I really should be using as a volunteer at a festival? But this guy was also making fun of everyone who tripped over the entrance fence to their face – I was a bit relieved when they moved him to a different gate and hopefully it was with less public interaction.

 

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Back to the Island 2017

Earlier this month I headed back to Jamaica for the 4th time for my 5th Back to the Island event with Hanson. (1 year was in Cancun, Mexico).  This year it was at the same resort as last year, which I really liked as far as the resort but didn’t really like as far as the food.  That seemed to still be an issue this year but I think what I didn’t eat in “regular” food, I made up for in desserts!

This post will focus on the concerts – of which there were 5. Or 7. Depending on how you count.  Early last year we voted for the themes we wanted for each of the Hanson shows to have and we never found out what won until that night.  I liked the surprise of trying to figure it out before they announced it, but had to show up prepared for it to be a Christmas show and ready to change into my Christmas Hanson shirt at any time.  Fortunately that was the only theme you could really “dress” for, unfortunately it never ended up winning.  So we had 3 full-band Hanson shows, 1 solo show from each Hanson (which I could as 1 Hanson show because Isaac + Taylor + Zac = Hanson, of course) and then 1 show from special guests Andrew Ripp and John Fullbright.

Night 1 – Rock All Night  (Setlist)

This was the kick off show and I was exhausted by the time we got to it. I don’t think I had ever wanted a Hanson show to be over so badly before, which is so out of character for me but I needed to get some sleep! They kicked the show off with the chorus of Back to the Island acapella and welcomed us all back to the Island (although there were a LOT of first timers there based on the screams whenever they asked!)  I liked that this was a rocking set and it really kicked things off.  The setlist had some rarer songs in it as well which I liked and I loved the throwback to Ever Lonely which they had done every night on their first tour in 1998 but much, much, much less more recently.   I was on the right side of the stage for this show (Taylor’s side) as opposed to in the handicapped area on the other side because no one ever brought chairs there!  I couldn’t see Zac unless I squatted down and looked through Taylor’s keyboards and kept saying I just wanted a “small fix” of Zac, so when they finished off the set with Zac coming up front for I Believe in a Thing Called Love I was very happy 🙂  That is, until he told my friend he couldn’t give her drumsticks because he only had 2 pair and then walked off stage only to give the drumsticks to someone else instead.  I’m sure there was a logical explanation, but it rubbed me the wrong way.  (Also pretty impressive was that they did not have any in-ear monitors so they had to turn the speakers in on them and Zac mentioned he couldn’t hear much at all, but they still managed to put on a great show!)

Isaac’s solo show (Setlist)

Last year, Isaac was very late for his solo set and made it a request hour which a lot of people didn’t like. (I liked the idea of it, even though he didn’t play anything I shouted out at him)  This year, Isaac was relatively on time and was very prepared for his set.  He also told us a little bit of the back story with a few of the songs he played, which I always really like hearing. He once again did “A Life Without You” which has only ever been played at the solo shows at BTTI. I also got 4 new songs out of him – Beautiful Eyes – which he explained was about dying during child birth which I never actually realized listening to it before and he had played back in 2000 a few times but not at any of the shows I was at and then he did 3 songs that had never been done before – David Garza’s Too Much as well as Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah (which I do feel is covered WAY too much but I let that slide) mixed in with Amazing Grace.  Could Isaac have won the solo show for the year again?  Yeah, I think he did.  Most of the time Isaac’s set ends up my favorite.

Night 2 – Acoustic (Setlist)

When we sat down and saw that the stage was set up for an acoustic set I had 2 feelings.  The first was “Yay! I should be able to see Zac tonight because he will be up front!” and the 2nd was “Oh crap I think they may play With You In Your Dreams”  My Dad passed away 2 months before and I knew my first time hearing it was going to make me cry.  Throughout the set I kept counting how many songs they did and knew that the show was almost over and THOUGHT we were in the clear – but they stuck it in as the last song.  Good thing it was last because I was such a mess during the song I’m not sure I would have been able to make it through the rest of the set.  Instead I had some time to regroup before Cards Against Humanity with Zac started.  There was nothing too remarkable about this setlist – acoustic was not one of my choices for the sets but I mean, any Hanson show is better than being anywhere else and any Hanson show on the beach is better than any other Hanson show. (Maybe.)

Taylor solo (Setlist)

The 2nd solo show was from Taylor. Taylor always has more songs to choose from than the other two since he sings lead on the most songs.  Before he started his 3rd song he talked about how it had almost been a single from Underneath and then didn’t end up making the album and something about it having “Bubblicious” in the lyrics.  There is one song from the 2003 era that I had NEVER before heard live.  In fact it’s part of the reason I started keeping track of how many times I had heard songs live and perhaps is the reason I now run a site that calculates that for everyone (hansonstage) and this was the song that Taylor was about to play. The song that I posted about on Hanson.net every time there is a “what do you hope they play?” thread.  I honestly do not know what to do with myself now that it has a “1” on my list.  What song do I obsess over now? I feel like that was the ultimate achievement.  Then 5 songs later he did it again – with another song that probably would have been my next obsession – another song from the same era that they had only ever really teased in concert before (and only a couple of times, at that) – Breaktown.  I didn’t even get video from the beginning because it took me so long to process what was really happening in front of me when he started it.  Taylor also did a couple of songs solo that I thought were a little bit weird – You Never Know was weird in a GOOD way with him solo and Get The Girl Back was weird in a.. not so good way with just him doing it solo.  Taylor also did a ridiculous set of 15 songs.  I kind of thought it never was going to end and I think I would have been ok with that.

Special Guests Set

I was very excited for Andrew Ripp to be a guest at this BTTI.  I had seen him previously open for David Cook and chatted with him about Hanson after his set and I knew that he would be a fun time and was a lot of fun on stage and had a great voice.  I didn’t realize how awesome he would be throwing a setlist together on the spot while I laid in a beach chair looking up at the stars with the waves crashing behind me.  It was perfect!  Of course, then I got sick and after 1 of John Fullbright’s songs I ended up having to leave and missed the rest of his set.  He didn’t really grab me with his song and I could hear some of it from the room, at least.  But it seemed like Andrew Ripp won a LOT of people over and I hope he is in consideration to be an opening act on a future Hanson tour because even though he’s just a guy with a guitar he has ENERGY which is what so many of their openers seem to be lacking.

Zac solo set (Setlist)

Zac’s solo set was probably my least favorite set. That’s not to say I didn’t like it, but I did have trouble getting in to it because a lot of the songs were about loss so I was just struggling with keeping it together for his set.  I did like that he told some background stories about the songs and what they were about because a lot of times they are so vague about those things.  He also did Juliet and Do You Believe In Love which are a couple of my favorite Zac leads, but even that couldn’t really redeem things for me.  He also didn’t give me any never before heard songs.  Sad face.  He is getting better and better at being on stage alone, I think though.  There’s definitely been an improvement since his first solo set back in 2014.

Final show – Members Only (Setlist)

The last time they did a members only themed setlist was 2014 and I think that if you ask anyone who was there they will say it was one of their favorite Hanson shows ever, if not THE best.  I am not sure that it will ever be topped, but they did try with the setlist they put together for the final night.  A lot of the Members Only songs have never been played live before, but unfortunately only one such song made it into this setlist (Freak Out) and everything else I had heard.  They did end up doing I believe all from the “Sound of Light” EP which is probably one of my favorites of their members only EPs.  The show started out with no lights on the front of the stage being on – which was strange.  Then they were completely in the dark before the 3rd song so we turned our cell phone lights on them until things were fixed.  That was weird and I wasn’t sure why they had them go onstage if the lights were an issue, but I guess they had to somewhat keep things on time.  Feeling Alive on the beach was amazing – I love that song so much in general but just putting it in the beach setting brought it to a whole other level.  They seemed to be having trouble starting out with Roller Coaster Love and I’m not sure Isaac wanted to play it or remembered how to play it but they worked it out.  They finished the encore out with some album songs (singles) that hadn’t found their way into other sets.  We did see they skipped “Ive Got Soul” from the setlist, but no great loss there.  For the finale they brought up Andrew and John to sing Back to the Island and Andrew even did a rap (the lyrics were on the stage in front of him but either way, totally impressive) and then our 5th year at BTTI was over and only Taylor’s after party was left before we’d all have to head back to the real world.

 

I thought that this year had some really solid setlists and some really good performances.  Things seemed a bit more polished than last year and I am ready to fork over all my money for year 6.

 

 

 

Hanson at Disney

I finished out October and began November by heading down to Orlando to see Hanson at Eat to the Beat at EPCOT as part of the Food & Wine festival.  Each night they played 3 sets for a total of 9 shows over 3 days.  The middle day happened to be Halloween – where I was dressed as Snow White and Hanson and crew dressed as The Avengers.  Zac was Thor, Isaac Captain America and Taylor Iron Man. Backup musicians were Black Panther and Spiderman with crew dressed as Wolverine, Hulk and Loki.

The first two days seemed to be a bit similar with several repeats over the two days. By the third they seemed to find their groove and varied things up a little bit more!  I was hoping for MMMBop at each of the 9 shows since prior to arriving I had heard it live 91 times and it would be nice to hit 100, but instead they did it at 2/3 of the shows each day.  100 will be coming up soon though! (I just have to remember to pay attention)

More details and pictures from my trip to come in the upcoming days. I’ve just had some trouble adjusting back into the real world since I returned.

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Throwback Thursday: Hanson 10/22/08

Headliner: Hanson
Opener(s): Dave Barnes, Everybody Else
Venue: Webster Theater
Cost: $35

Setlist:

 

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Hanson Alive @ Five

Several months ago I had a dream.  I was backstage at a Hanson show with some of my friends and we were setting up hot plates full of food for Hanson and the crew to eat.  It was almost my birthday. We were in Stamford, CT.  I woke up thinking to myself – does Stamford even have a concert venue?  Then I realized that Stamford always has their summer Thursday evening concert series “Alive @ Five”, I saw that an announcement was set for mid-May, but promptly forgot about it, knowing I’d be too concerned with getting ready to head to Tulsa for MOE to worry about the lineup.  Then the lineup was announced – and Hanson was set to be the second weeks entertainment! And just 5 days before my birthday.  (Now if I can dream the winning lottery numbers so I’ll never miss another Hanson show again, that would be great)

We got to see some of the soundcheck, where they of course made up a fake song, went through the same song a few times, threw in a little Ghostbusters at the end of a song… there were some issues with the set up so I think that allowed for them to be on stage a bit longer, which was awesome for us but not so much for them since they were having so many different issues.

Being as it was a Connecticut show and the first time they’ve been back in 5 years, I *needed* front row.  We ended up getting there pretty early to stake our claim on a spot up front.  It was looking like we’d be home free, in the first or second row… when mother nature had other plans.  We were told that a storm was coming and if we wanted to, we could hide out in any of the local restaurants.  Of course, if we left our spot, we’d never be able to get it back so we threw on ponchos and raincoats and stood in the rain for about 15 mins waiting for the storm to pass.  It was windy, the tents that had been set up for the festival were flying all over the place and there were a few flashes of lightning (which we had said we’d leave if we saw, but we still stayed put)

After the rain passed, DJs and entertainment from Kunjan Collective got us hyped up for the opener – Alec Chambers.  There is something about openers for Hanson that I always end up not liking them and thinking their sets are too long no matter how good they are, because I just can’t wait to see Hanson.  This was no different.  I’m sure Alec is wonderful outside of Hanson concerts and since he’s local perhaps I should give him another chance some other time.  But I just wanted Hanson on stage!

After Alec’s set there was some more hype from JHype and Theo from Kunjan Collective and then finally, just after 7, it was time for Hanson!  I wasn’t sure what kind of set we were going to get, as their most recent shows were done for the US Navy overseas and I hadn’t seen any of the setlists.  We figured a fair mix of the singles since it was more of a casual crowd but I have to say I was really, really pleased with the setlist! Taylor had mentioned they’d save Runaway Run for the show and I think if they came out and only sang that I’d have been happy! They opened and closed with a cover, but the rest of the set was all originals. Taylor did trick me a bit when I was writing out the setlist – I often will hear a couple opening notes and be able to tweet out or write down what the song will be before they even started singing it.  Before one song Taylor talked about how they had an album called Anthem… and everything was leading into them performing “Get the Girl Back” but then Taylor said… “And the girl is named PENNY!” and they ended up doing Penny and Me.  Get the Girl Back didn’t come for a few songs later.  I think he was more confused than trying to trick me though 😉 The show was over by about 9:30 and we opted to head right home instead of try and get pics with the guys, because it looked like a bit of a crowd had formed by where they would be coming out.

I wish that show meant I’d be seeing them more, but while I am trying to figure out a trip to Disney World to see them this fall, I will have to wait until next year for their big world tour to see them do a full set again.  It seems so far away!

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Throwback Thursday: Hanson May 3, 2008

 

08-05-03Headliner: Hanson
Opener(s): Kate Voegele, SK6ers
Venue: Chameleon Club, Lancaster PA
Cost: $38

Setlist:

Recap:

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Throwback Thursday: Hanson April 29, 2008

08-04-29

Headliner: Hanson
Opener(s): Kate Voegele, SK6ers
Venue: Starland Ballroom Sayreville, NJ
Cost: $39

Setlist:

Recap:

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